Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nurgle Lord... Uh... Lady

I found myself with some hobby time whilst everyone recovered from a huge turkey injection and decided to stick some of my christmas booty together... And naturally conversions ensued.

First was (Probably the most converted mini in existence), the brilliant Nurgle Lord. I can see me buying a few more of these this year. Great fun, satisfying and a pleasure to paint (my brother in law had me slap one up for him a few months back).
A quick sex change and a nip and tuck, and she will be a heavy shooter in my new nurgle themed Skulldred warband I kicked off with that muted green-grey chaos beastmas a few posts ago.

The hair is from a dark elf sorceress. I will bulk out the gun with pipes once I get back to my studio tomorrow where my pipe rollers dwell. The barrel is from the nurgle lords sprue.

I may make the boobs bigger and saggier too, more like an earth mother type and add a few more touches here and there. At the moment its too subtle to really communicate she is a she.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Xmas Haul

Merry Xmas lead addicts. What do resin fans call themselves?
Resin addicts sounds a little opium den-nish. Res'eads?
Well here is my xmas haul- so expect painty /converty versions of these babies soon...

I got two 'valkia the bloodies' to play with- Im thinking a warband of bloodletters and eighties chaos hounds led by her would be tasty. Oooh, projects... More projects!

I am rather pleased by the quality of these- after terrible Forgeworld castings and poor dark eldar finecast castings, these are almost perfect. The hellcannon is missing a ridge, but its spikes, rivets and chains are fine.

(Its still not acceptable to have a single bubble or flaw in any product as far as I am concerned. Yes, you can return problem bits, but lets face it- you shouldn't have to. Returning or fixing miscasts robs you of time, and your time is your life. Instead of GW paying for staff to do quality control, YOU pay them YOUR money to do the job for them for free. Not on.
I would like to see GW add 'checked by DJ 375' stickers on the pack. Three strikes and quality control dude Dick Johnson looses his monthly bonus.- so endeth the rant).

Still, its a big improvement, and I have to congratulate GW on the quality of new sculpts. Festus is a particularly good example of an intricate model that holds its composition at all angles and tells a story. Hell, his nurgling alone is a character piece.
I am looking forward to converting these babies. I was tempted to whack an led in the hellcannon. :)

And of course I should mention my darling wife bought me this little slice of miniature history...

Bless her. She's a keeper!

So whats your haul like this year dear readers?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sanity Claws

Never remember to paint something seasonal- this year I did... But time ran out! Here is a wip to send you into christmas!

Merry leadmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Imperial primer

So yesterday whilst christmas shopping- (Christinsanities annual reminder to atheists like me that there IS a hell and it looks a lot like a shopping center in december), I happened to pick up a bottle of Imperial Primer to give it a spin.

Its runny gesso.
Its distinct ammonia- latex smell and shrinking properties are no different from those big assed tubs of gesso you get from art stores.
Its definitely not a primer- which is a chemically different substance which acts as an adhesive between surface and paint. In fact you can rub it off with a gentle pressure and it peels like latex.

I am filing this under 'marketing polished bullshit' with GWs flash removing brush.

Give it a miss.
I am sticking to white enamel paint on rainy days. Much tougher.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sandra Garrity Dwarf

Old school? Why yes, right this way....
Sandra Garrity Dwarf

Reaper classic female dwarf
I had an overwhelming urge to base up some really old Ral Partha skellies with old school bases referencing AD&D battlesystem Skirmish photos. Big fat 30mm square, 2mm ply.
No idea why, I guess a change is as good as a rest.
Once the skellies where done I figured I needed some old school heroes to fight them- and this reaper minis classic Dwarf sculpted by Sandra Garrity (not Julie Guthrie) was just the ticket.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Strip jar claw

Stripped eight coffee jars full of minis yesterday and can vouch that rubber gloves are very, very important. I decided to take off the glove on my right hand (as it would only be holding the scrubbing brush- riiiight?).
Insert family fortune bah-bahh sound here.
My hand is now shriveled and cracked like a mummies claw. Thats after the moisturizer.

So endeth the lesson.

Ironically one of the stripped goodies was the rare citadel night horrors giant hand- not to be confused with the creeping claw chaos familiar- (ebay sellers take note) which thanks to a huge release and recent rerelease is pretty damn common.

My hand now resembles this figure somewhat.

My plan was to end the year with my entire backlog of minis stripped, bagged and filed away in tubs. I figure I have about three hours of stripping left to complete the task but by golly gosh and by jingo even- it is going to give me some serious closure. What with my day job gobbling up all my Skulldred project time (and energy) like some vermitious knid on scooby snacks- some project closure would be great.

On a brighter note- The stripping jars gave up some lovely lead loot that I totally forgot I owned because they have spent the best part of a year lurking in black dettol.

I now have a few new doubles that I will offer up for trade come january- an aardvark beserker, night horrors ragged sheet ghost, the FF fiend and Sam Phox (the topless wizard ) to name but a few.
I was thinking its about time I made up a trades/spares page for the blog.

All in all, about five metric tonnes of lead took me all afternoon to strip and by golly jingo etc- I was knackered at the end. Still, highlights include a bunch of early c28 giants which I picked with various part combinations so I could sculpt up replacement parts (plug- these will be available january from Darkling mini store.) plus two RT Dreadnoughts!

I am really, really excited by these- I got a fat short one and a thin tall one both armed with laser guns! Pchoo pchoo!
I never owned a dreaddy- and always coveted them. I am thinking a Paul Benson inspired weathered camo job for my renegade forces and one for kill team charlie.

Anyway ladies, I have to shoot off, so pictures when I get back. In the meantime its your mission to you pop off and get yourself a few beers you have not tried from an obscure microbrewery and try painting something with your off hand.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wanted: Dead or... Undead

Hey leadheads, I am hunting two minis for my latest warband- a skeletal headed chaos warrior and a musician (ral partha?) from John Blanches diorama.
I have been slowly building and painting both sides of this conflict for an epic Skulldred showdown- Including scenery.

God I hate sculpting mushrooms.

Bar the elusive nottingham dwarf, the two main missing characters are these...

Wait... Dammit, thats a photo of my knee. I hate this app.

These two...

Anyone have spares?

Darkling Spelltoads WIP

Hey folks, here is a quick iphone snap of my work in progress for the spelltoads, most of the way done. If you crosspost elsewhere please note they are wips and I will be posting finished, high res photos once they are done.
They still needs highlights, glazes, freehand details and eyes, plus my usual base decorations.

Left to right: Witch huntoad, Rogue toad, Zombie toad, Soldier Toad, Toadanator, Nosferatoad, Wiztoad, Tym the Enchantoad and Rollatoad.

I did these from a black base coat and black ink wash, midnight blue overbrushing up to a grey drybrush. Then a white drybrush followed by tints thinned with liquitex medium. The punchy blues come from liquitex too. Great brand.

They are hella fun to paint (but I would say that)- but they really are! I may have to break out some bullywug minis this year for a painty sesh. Perhaps Eurekas toads?

I am already brainstorming my next toad batch, but know that their existence will depend on sales of these, and their naked cousins. These toads are a pretty risky venture- about as niche as you get.
Perhaps I should run a kickstarter to handle pre-orders for a full 'Amulet' set. Think its a good idea?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Barbarian movie extravaganza

My barbarian research fest continues, as I plan to digest one bad ass (or just plain bad) brawn, boob and blade flick a night whilst slapping paint on the Copplestone Barbarians to ensure they are fully soaked in eighties barbarity.

I added Barbarian Queen II: The Empress strikes back, Amazons, Fulchi's Conquest, Hundra and Sword & Sorcerer to my movie to-watch list. Any other recommendations?

Done all the Conans, barbarians (barbarian bros), excalibur, Scorpion king, Barbarian Queen, Masters of the Universe (uhg), beast master I, deathstalker II, Red Sonja (yor ziztah iz dahying), Yor (hes the man) and Steel Dawn. Oh, Flesh and Blood kinda fits too- maybe a double bill with Excalibur.
Any other classics I must see?

I have been collecting this range for a while too- they will have to wait until I have done Skulldred though- I still need the dead guy, archer and the falconer from this pic if anyone has trades.

Hmmm. Must get my trade list photos done....

Friday, November 30, 2012

Copplestone Barbarians

The weather is horrible in Sydney at the moment- a muggy, still, moist heat that lurks about my studio like a... muggy, lurky thing.

Tomorrow I raid my storage for fans and aircon units, but tonight... It was all about body oil.

Yes, its barbarian time... as I dive into a warband of Mirliton (Grenadier) barbarians sculpted by Mark Copplestone for my next Skulldred photo project. Just blocked in the base colors tonight and based them, but already they stand out as an impressive bunch.
The thing about Marks work... Actually the first of two things, is that he sculpts heroes you want to play. Looking at the batch of rank and file barbarians, I would proudly play every single one in a roleplaying or video game. They all are Heroes! There isnt a dull one in there.
Secondly, Mark is a master of clean, smooth, solid masses which make painting his models a pleasure. Plenty of room for showing off blended shading and detailing, and a simple crisp paint job make them pop out on the tabletop. His imperial guard for rogue trader ushered in the first chisel faced, clean models that formed the moden GW 'chunky-edgy' style you can see on every empire models face!

Plus he always sculpts USEFUL gaming figures... Its hard to find a post apoc, future war or pulp fan who isn't packing a few copplestone!

To prepare for the painty barbarity I watched 'The Barbarians'- a truly hilarious eighties movie of glossy muscled action. Very inspiring stuff- I must buy it for my Cheesy Barbarian film collection!

Girl: 'Hurry, fetch the virgins!'
Mr. Padme 'What, only two in the whole tribe?'
Its worth noting it could be the inspiration for Queen Amidala's costumes, makeup and hair!

Lots of ideas for barbarian caravan raid project.

Pics once I get some shading in.

Next up is a bunch of Hasslefree amazons. I am really looking forward to those- especially Delphine- nice one Kev!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


RT mandatory, right?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Project: dungeon display board

My restful few days did not pan out as I hoped, and now I have to jet off to hold some training this week, so blahdy, blah- blah-
back to far too overloaded busy next week.
At least I got some things a little further along. Here is a phew crapola iphone snaps for your amusement.

This pic- All citadel: Two generations of chaos warriors, a modern plastic beastman and paladin.

Some progress as you can see on shifting to a consistent 30mm unbevelled basing system. I got these and about twenty more figures based up and enamelled and now feel confident its the right choice.

The pic shows a placcy beastman and some chaos warriors who have haunted my desk for years - they finally got a once over. Still need to do a bit on all of them, especially the red dude, but at least they are game ready now.
The muted grey-green color scheme on the beastman really tickles my eyeballs, and I feel the urge to give him some muted magically mutated marauding mates this year for a naughty noisome, noxious nurgle... Er.. warband.

The biggest part of my hobby time has actually gone on prepping stuff for Skulldred. The following is a very bad iphoto of my test piece of an undead warband. It a 15mm Splintered Light skeletal beastman mounted on a 20mm washer.

I am loving painting fifteen mil. Its about my attention span, plus these are great figures so they pretty much paint themselves. I suspect I will be expanding my 15mm collection next year and making some magnetic sabot bases for them.

Speaking of Skulldred, I gooped and quickly painted up my prototype photo board, which will double as a sales display, product and blog photographic background, storage shelving and gaming terrain all in one. Check one project off the list!

Because it needed to be hard wearing, I tried out Kamloopians Goop recipe, (acrylic caulk, weldbond and some paint- but skipped the plaster). Its really therapeutic gooping a board.
I made the mistake of sprinkling bicarb and fine sand here and there on at the third coat, which now I drybrushed it gives it a rather amateurish terrain feel. Next time its plaster and no sand.
I still need to detail it and fix up the rough areas, but I am happy in general with it as a test of XPS foam.



Now I have to rush off and finish some commission bits! Take care and make sure you eat plenty of fruit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fifteen bucks!

Hey everyone, GW just posted a mini product under twenty bucks australian. Yeah, I know...
Five chaos cultists for fifteen bucks. Thats like... (counts on fingers) ... almost reasonable.

Keep this up and I may start buying new from the stores instead of waiting until kiddies get over zealous, buy too much, get frustrated they cant paint like 'eavy metal and ebay it.

Speaking of which, I have to make a confession... I actually have some of the new Dark Heresy minis on my desk. No, I am not being lured over to the dark side but damn, loving the new feel of the models in the last two white dwarfs. The addition of secondary masses to the chaos armor instead of blocky primary masses and fussy tertiary details add a more swollen mangabot feel that brings a great deal more interest to the designs.
That helldrake and chaos shrine are ridiculous though.

I have me a chosen squad and the painy, melty dreadnought thingie. Really cool.

Flicking through white dwarf highlights great things happening with the models. I just cannot figure GW's maths.

When they sold their figures for under three quid for five metal models I bought hundreds. Not just one army- I had a decent whack of all of them, plus bloodbowl teams. Elves, dwarves, zoats- everything! I disnt even own a copy of warhammer, let alone PLAY it.

Now the economic rule is 'set prices at what the market can bear'. But here is the thing I do not get- GW put out product at such a high mark up it forces most mortals to focus on one or two armies. More still run to ebay or leave the hobby altogether. Sure, for every old player that leaves there are kiddies to replace them... But... Why replace them? Why not take both oldie and kiddies cash?

Lets say GW slash their prices by just fifty percent tomorrow. Something well within their power, considering the mark up and manufacturing costs.
I personally would rush to GW and stagger out laden with boxes.

Over a year, I would not just grab an army, but I could easily see myself gathering up a skaven, Nurgle, Slanesh, Empire and Dark Eldar force. Plus a whole whack of stuff just for bits too to make inquisitor models.

80 dollars for a pack of three bloodcrushers? Piss off! But 40 bucks? Thats do-able. Ten bucks per model, is a reasonable price for a few days modeling entertainment and (lets face it) a diddy plastic toy. Actually, 40 bucks is pretty do-able per month or even fortnight for a large majority of gamers.

So here is a thought.

Setting up an 'common sense intervention' register for GW. You register what products you like, might buy and not only definitely will buy, but would pay right now for IF they gave a fifty percent discount. Then compare this to what you currently buy. Like a sort of reverse kick starter... where they can see the potential money and goodwill they would have if they did the smart thing.

Dave King
Current GW purchase per month: 0
Fifty percent purchase this month:
Undead throne of wibbly ghost bits...
Skaven pit aberration
3xcairn wraiths
3xnurgle lords
1xnurgle champ on horseback
Gnoblars box
Dark Vengeance boxed set
New Khorne chicky babe with wings
2x Talos Pain engines

Total income difference: $$$...well I could do the maths but yawn.
I am guessing about 400 bucks not including whim purchases such as paint.

GW would improve their image overnight and would find lost customers flooding back. Plus current customers would start collecting additional pieces that would trigger off new army collecting.

If I had any influence over GW it would be this... Go half. Half the design team. Design and Produce half the new products, combine and halve the factions in the rules (marines, inquisition and guard as one- chaos demons, beastmen and warriors as one), make kits wider in scope so multiple purchases of same box product occur (half the packaging, half stock items and tooling costs and reduce risk) and finally half the price at retail.

Why spend soooo much on new art- most of its tail chasing anyway rehashes of the same stuff anyway.
Why make a core rulebook more expensive then three video games? Cut half that crap out!

So whats your thoughts?

Would you join the Happy half club? If so, what difference in spend would you have? What armies would you collect?

Laters... Got to fly..

Weirdo wolfie

I don't know how many hours, and it is hours, I have poured over the two mini pages of Ratspike.

There are, simply nothing so wildly erratic and richly aberrant as the personal minis of JB. Especially before warhammer solidified as a concept and he just went nutso making cool stuff.
In my wildest dreams I never would have thought I would own one of these figures. These very figured that inspired me over the years.

But I do.

Weird, exciting, a little terrifying.

I am looking at the wolfman jetpacker on the above page. Its made from a galaxy ranger and what I suspect is a ral partha wolf.
And its here. I am actually looking at the real thing. The one from that photo.
It's here.
I can poke it.

Its soooooo weird.

Its like, you know when you wake up from a drunken, drug binge next to someone who looked a bit like Charlize Theron at that wrap party and suddenly after looking at her sober you realize its actually Charlize Theron... Then it puts you off your game because now its THE Charlize Theron and you are worried you might, I dunno, damage her and have, like the whole of mankind chasing after you for breaking THEIR Charlize and get put off and have awkward breakfast in silence and burn her toast and she says its okay but you both know it was okay until that whole celebrity thing kicked in and... Well you know, its kinda like that. You know.
Uh, okay, maybe just me.

Anyway, I seriously need a display cabinet thingie now.

Ps. Charlize... Call me. Sorry I freaked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Strip tip

I just upgraded my stripping kit after picking up a couple of tips on da toob from squidgybridge here. Linky

What I picked up is not to use water near dettol. Normally I tap rinse the figures, but its a sticky mess. Scrubbing with dettol only however, does the business without the stickiness. The moment you add water, the paint gungymunge seizes and starts to stick again. Aha!
To use this trick I had to grab mah bukkit from the hardware shop.

Up til now I have been soaking my lead in glass jars, but the bukkit made so much sense. Less likely to have the bottom crack off (it happened to me) - big enough to strip a whole dragon and lets me reuse the dettol.
I am going to try muslin straining it later.

Copplestone goodness fresh from the bukkit

So armed with a stiff toothbrush I attacked what turned out to be a couple of jars mainly filled with Mark Copplestone sculpts- some future wars bikers and Grenadier barbarians (now available from Em4 and Mirliton respectively).
Thats 2 jars down, eight to go... However this is not a feeling of dread- the water free bukkit technique is effortless and far, far less sticky. Plus I know what goodies lie within those jars...

Citadel militia and mercenaries, Grenadier hirelings, the orky brothers grimm, a warband of skaven, hobgoblins and Grenadier dwarves, chaos marauders and chaos dwarves... And uh, at least seven other jars of....uh...
I forget exactly whats been soaking in there. Could be anything. I have a nasty habit of buying stuff and discovering a double in the stripping jar the next week.

Great work squidgybridge. Lead heads salute you!

I add to this that a second soak in hot water with some Jif (cif) kitchen cleaner removes any stickiness, the smell and is alkali so safe for lead.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bad weather. Bad wolf.

Great. Promised myself three days holiday before diving into my email backlog I ran up during on-site work and what do you know, humid, rainy weather.
I love this weather actually- its dramatically thundering away as I blog. However it does mean a)No resin casting or spray painting, and b) no sitting on my computer.

So I decided to cut my losses and use up the remaining batch of 3mm x30mm MDF bases while I wait. I can always sand them down a mil later if it starts to bother me.

On other news, my wife bought me this for christmas.

Its a John Blanche original, and is the very model that appears in the 1980s John Blanche, Ian Millar book entitled Ratspike.
Sorry to those who also bid on him, but its probably for the best, had you won,knowing my wife she probably would have somehow tracked you down and be quietly waiting for you in a chair in a half shadowed corner of the room when you got home, ready to convince you to rethink your purchase with deft use of gaffa tape, a car battery, a jump start kit and a looped recording of meatloafs 'anything for love' on a walkman. Bless her little cotton socks. When she gets her heart set on something!
Officially the best christmas present ever, I may have to buy her the original dental tool set from Marathon Man to compensate.
When it arrives I promise to take lots of pictures, then backwards engineer how he did his bases and do a color mix guide.
Now if I can just pry one of his yellow-orange demons out of Steves hands I can do a match for those too!
Steve also had these unreleased beauties sculpted by long time Photographer at GW Phil Lewis.

Very Bob Olley, dont you think... Hmm, I feel a new Dwerg coming on!

This is not far from a picture of a spider mutant in Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness.
Looking for the pic online I found this lovely scratch build by a cheerfully named chap called Mortis...

Very inspiring! I may have to hit the putty this month.

Another bit of arrival news to the land of lead pile (lead mountain) is a simply wonderful batch of figures that arrived today from splintered light minis. I have to just rave about these, they really raised the detail bar on 15mil. Just awesome little critters. I really dig the 15mil scene- especially painting- how fast you can knock 'em out once you know how. You can also fit a whole Skulldred skirmish game in a lunchbox.
I also love how epic it makes my 28mm game scenery look.
Now... How should I base these???

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo/display boards part 1

Three birds with one (extruded polystyrene) stone.
I needed some cool scenery for the photos in Skulldred, some display case stands for conventions and some fun gaming terrain, but already had storage issues.
The idea to combine all three in one goes to my wife. Here is the first prototype. Man I love working with XPS foam.

So what I have is several stepped sections like this, placing 2 side by side will fit onto my office display shelf.
Each block can be used on their own as a trade show display for my Darkling mini range, and combined with other modules to make a gaming space.
The theme is an ancient dungeon ruin that has been cleared out by adventurers several years before, who then have opened it up as a new secure city to house those displaced by its monsters. Dwarf artisans are still rebuilding and reshaping the dungeon into shops, store houses and living quarters.
The boards will be a mix of upper city levels and recently discovered catacombs. Apparently not all the monsters where cleared out...

Bulletproof chip proof, ninja proof washers

Ironically, (in the Alanis Morrisette definition of the word), I stumbled upon a way to chip proof paint on washers after spending the first few hours of the morning of my first holiday in -phewwwwwaaaaages- making this little array of base masters.
I used 20 cent australian coins which are exactly 28mm in diameter, and sanded the edges smooth (Australian coins are ribbed, for her pleasure one can only assume). A bit of grit and superglue and Bob Monkhouse is your uncle- a mould master for 15 bases. If I pull two moulds from this I can demould 120 in an hour.
Yep. That should just about do the trick...

So how do you chip- proof washers?
Buggered if I know, I am not psychic... but let me tell you how I chip proofed mine.

I varnished them with superglue.

Yep, dab on a little cyanoacrylte glue and use its nylon nozzle to smooth it out around the edge. Let it dry for ten minutes and apply another coat. After a couple thin coats you end up with somewhat uneven and rounded finish, but nonetheless a tough shell over your paint coat that will survive gameplay. You can then paint your top coat over this, and I suppose varnish as usual.
I put black electrical tape under mine, to fill the hole and tidy the undersides up a bit and act as a protective cushion against scratching tables. I did this before the superglue, which ties it all together like The Dudes rug.
Its not as neat as resin bases, but is a solution to the problem.

If you have any tips for paint and washers, love to hear it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ace of Base(es)

Done it.

First casting using a press/ overflow mould. Perfecto!

And a quick test. A 1980s slotta Paladin (Aly Morrison? -guessing by the squishy face. - comment if you know). He looks happy because he managed to lift that massive sword. Seriously. That things bigger than he is.

I added some of my Darkling Games skulls I sculpted to the overflow channel and bingo- lots of decorations. I plan to sculpt some skellies soon, so I had a load cast up.

Speaking of which, ever notice John Blanche always seems to put two skullz on each inquisiton base? Perhaps he thinks they get lonely.
So I love the look of the new bases. A nice low profile, comfy fit for long poses and room for a blanche of skullz. See what I did there? Made big B a collective noun. Spread the word!
So in a few days I will make up a couple of master moulds and churn me up a big mess o' bases. A biiig mess- a biiiiiiiig mess - Like the sort of mass over compensation you expect from a man solving a technical problem- Tim the Toolman Tailor style. Ough, ough, oooooooohw.
Perhaps I should get me a big bucket to put them in. Hey, Dave, got any good bases? Why yessir- got messelfa buckit o' dem yonder!
Now dear reader- it is such a good feeling- having solved my base angst I know I can just get on with enjoying the painting. I am already itching to get stuck into all those deliciously smooth Mark Copplestone barbarians in my stripping jar. Oh yes.
The sandy texture came out really well too- I wasn't expecting that. Its going to be wonderful not having to deal with that anymore. I hate painting sand- the base coat always its a pain, and it eats brushes. I always end up supergluing grit to my fingers too. The nice thing is my resin is black- so no need to undercoat them. Heck, I can even just line up a whole bucket of them at once and overbrush the lot.

The flagstone test came out well too. I will sculpt up a whole set now. These will do well for my AD&D miniatures, and all my Fantasy Adventurers and fiend factory figs.
Yessir. One happy nerdburger here.

Now, fetch me a bucket!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Base problem solved

I think I have the perfect base system.
Thanks to Joe Thomlinson's magnet suggestion and pics (follow the links in the comments on the last post- its worth it!).
Joe got me re-exploring ideas I had thrown out and bingo! I was staring at my reaper minis on 2mm plasticard drilled bases (took too long to cut and where not magnetic) and I realized I could just resin cast those and drill a hole for a magnet later. As they are 30mm its unlikely they will jump together and I could simply gnaw out the first castings with a dremmel to make countersunk ones for preslotta.
Nice one Joe!
So, to celebrate my successful delivery of my big project (an X-box Kinect gesture powered orchestral game for AFTRS masters student Pru Montin) which has kept me working long looooong hours - I treated myself to a late night hobby sesh all for me!
I drill cut a bunch of bases- going for a 28mm diameter from 2mm plasticard- stuck on sand and scatter (as I get bored of doing this) and set them on my base board. I then decided to do a dungeon tile set, and a pirate wooden plank set tomorrow. Then its just bang- thirty six bases in one pour.
I am going to try getting a totally level mould using spirit levels, and use a combination of overspill channels and greased glass plate to make the bases flat. You over fill the mould slightly, then press down with the silicone release sprayed glass sheet after you vibrate the airbubbles out. The excess resin escapes into the channels giving you a sort of sprue. But in reverse, if you driftnet my catchphrase.
Now whats got me excited by this is even more is the idea of putting a bunch of base decorations made up such as plants, roots, slates, mushroom caps and skullz(tm) around the overspill channels, so my waste resin becomes handy decor.
I tested the bases with some 28mm chaos thugs (the reaper figs I based in this style are chunky 30+ mm figs), as I was worried the smaller figs may look lost on the 30mm base. Turns out no, and a 28mm base is even better. They looked great and a quick play around proved they felt right on the game table. The 2mm depth made them easy to pick up by the base, protected the fiddly decorations (its old school- gotta have shrooms) and fighting figures kept the right distance to trade blows. I could not get my neo-d mags to make the bases leap. Yay.
I think 'Jobs a good 'un.'

Reaper demon on 2mm plasticard disc.

Thankfully that will take a lot off my mind. I can forge ahead now with confidence that I can have a consistent, practical base for both game and display figures across my whole collection, and can do this easily and cheaply. I set out to base my whole collection on much loved hex bases, but found then tricky to skirmish with and not as stable as I liked. Since then I have wandered listlessly about trying bases. My collection looks fragmented, and I can see pros and cons to all.
Casting on the majority of the texture means not having to fill holes, sand and glue sand to an endless sea of empty bases. My desk will be cleaner and waaaaay more time for painty, converty fun instead of boring basing.
Okay, so that lost picture from last posts deletion (damn iphone blog apps are all cruddy). My casa...
Or, you know... Desk....

That said, it currently looks like a rabid hippo on a diet of polystyrene, superglue tubes and wire shat on it, the attacked the resulting mess with a chainsaw.
Thanks again Joe!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Project next...

After a huge tidy up to help focus my creaking mind on Skulldred by removing all distractions, I have a list of unfinished projects I want to complete after.

1: mcdeath skirmish

Needs a few minis, so no hurry. Een mcwrecker, turtledragon, lord and lady mcdeath. Sandra prangle.

2: 1980's citadel race warbands
Finish a warband for each race. Mostly done orc, goblin, human, wood elf, dwarf, undead. Want to finish these and add skaven, militia, skeleton, bandits, evil knights, goodly paladins, barbarians, amazons, hobgoblins

3: baggage train
My mostly done matakishi like project- a baggage caravan set with wagons, pack animals, loot and a road. I have some fantasy creatures in mind for this.

4: starport RT
Finish some rogue trader factions mounted on fenris sulacco bases. Kill team charlie c100 marines), 2000ad perps, space pirates, zoats, RT tyranids, eldar and a few doctor who models. Perhaps a dark marine set too. Necromunda amazons.

5: inquisition / post apoc 28

John blanche inspired inquisition minis set on post apocalypse bases. Judge dredd clown gang, copplestone bikers, scratch built weirdness.

6: Blanche chaos squad

Finish my converted JB yellow demon squad.

7: perfect bases

8: pirates
Got looots of minis. Not a one painted!

9: dragon month
A month of dragon assembly including articles, Kegox, Terronus (the ultimate dragon), Pathfinder red, citadel Elmore red dragon, red dragon, zombie dragon and some reaper goodies!

Lots of work ahead of me! Stay tuned folk and thanks for reading thus far!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Base perfectamundo prototype uno

My wife needed the PC tonight so my game design session became a relaxing night making a mould. I cast up my base prototype and gave it a whirl.

Et voila! Black resin casting with a 20mm washer popped in.
Here is a side by side comparison to the regular round base. I can actually go higher in profile but countersink the top.

I am thinking of making the next prototypes using a 3D printer to get the little features I want such as a slight lip with countersunk top and a weakened groove for slots. I was thinking I may try a 25mm round as well as a thirty, since Skulldred is honeybadger on base sizes.

Base coated citadel barbarian on prototype base.

So what do you think so far?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The perfect base, a pig and a marauder.

The hunt goes on for that perfect base!
Yes, dear readers I am obsessed by that bit of plastic that no one notices. I just cant get that right mix that I want.
Sooooo.... I knocked this up. Its a mould master for a one inch round base without a bevel (like a DnD figure) with a round socket underneath where a 20mm washer fits. Lower than a citadel round, but higher than a renedra base.
The mould is to be poured underside down- rather than the usual top down you get with pre detailed resin.

The pic above shows a citadel base for depth comparison with the washer fitted. A citadel barbarian is the model.

This *should* satisfy my unnatural desires in the base area.

The non beveled sides gives a good place to pick the figure up by, and maximizes the upper surface for adding base details. The hidden washer gives a pleasant weight and stability as well as sticking to my magnetic trays and painting handles.
I will run off a few resin casts after I get the new Skulldred beta out hopefully next week.

If they do, I will make myself a couple of moulds that can do ten at a time, spend a night casting my ass off and just crank them buggers out till I have me a stockpile. Then I can be done exploring the nether regions of alternate basing with all the rebasing pain that it brings.

I loved washers for gaming, ease of use and cheapness... but found myself scared to sculpt on decorations which I really enjoy doing. They seem less protected on a washer. Take a look at this marauder militia man ( Hogym the curious and his war pig Snortwurzel.)

I also like to handle my minis by the base, which was trickier with washers. Your urge is to grab them like chess pieces- fine enough when you have well varnished gaming minis, but I wanted the arty stuff to be consistently based too. Hence my (self imposed) dilemma. I also found chipped edges on the washers frustrating. Several enamel coats fixes it, but that means you have to actually do several enamel coats. Plastic bases are good to go.
I wanted the best of both washers and plastic, I guess.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Proxie Bases and EPS joy-joy

My first true weekend off in a long while and its been a corker. I found a retailer of extruded polystyrene (blue foam) thats open on saturdays, and finally, FINALLY got to see what all the fuss is about.
Eps is brilliant. Its magnificent. Its wargamer paradise. Mana of the... You get the idea.
I decided to cut a chunk off and experiment before comitting to a project, something I could finish in an hour or so. Thus was borne this... Er, thingie.

As promised last episode, a couple of Jes Goodwin's C01 fighters, aka Donalbane and Banquo chillin' on their new Proxie Model 30mm bases. My McDeath Skirmish is still missing Sandra Prangle, Ewen Mcgregor and the wee laird and lady McDeath themselves, but it canne hurt te hae e rest'o'em all gussied up in case they shoo.


My apologies to any Scots reading. I canne... Sorry... Can not help myself after reading the book again to get color ref.

So anyhoo, I love extruded polystyrene. I am looking forward to making the photoboards for Skulldred and my Darkling games new releases. Speaking, oh so subtly, of which...

One of the new second wave Dwerg demo models (paint job very much work in progress) mounted on a regular lipped 30mm next to one on a proxie model 30mm. They sit lower with more room for decoration.
In the foreground is the 25mm from the same range for comparison. Great low profile, and the lip gives the same showcasing effect without the dominating mass of the warmachine style base. I also like that the underside is smooth and solid. Very nice bases. Two thumbs up!

This figure is rumored to have been an Elric of Melnibone, but was shunted into the fighters range after Citadel lot the license. He surfaced in Mcdeath, but not in the paper tokens, where he is depicted as another model.

Well thats my saturday. Back to work tomorrow. :(

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Proxie bases

My order of proxie model bases turned up. I like the 30mm bases the moment I unbagged them, and after a quick test decided to commit one of my big projects to them. McDeath-dred.
I was a little worried with my mdf bases as some of these models are very expensive and rare, and I worry about acid, moisture and air entering through the wood. Probably nothing to worry about, but still that little nag was there. This gives me a good excuse to select them.

The bases are somewhat like an understated version of a darkage/warmachine lipped style base, but with a much lower profile more akin to a washer. They also have a nice groove around the inner lip that makes a neat termination to the basing material and being black plastic the black lip will be scratch proof. The underside is pleasantly smooth and solid, making the models look neat and tidy when tipped over.
On the down side, Proxie have yet to master the art of smooth tooling at the time of writing, and the finish on the sides is a little rough, not the shiney, shiney you get with chinese bases. This is a minor niggle, as in a few seconds with a bit of fine grit paper and they polish up a treat. I do this with the chinese ones as well, so no real loss of time there.

I have to say I love these bases- bravo Proxie!

The 40mm round and large chariot bases are also the bomb- finally I have a suitable home for my plague cart!

I had pictured using the bike bases for cavalry and wolves, but as they are over 2 inches long they look wrong. Judge Dredd looks a little odd on them too. I suspect these are more for ork low riders. I will set these aside for now and probably stick to 40mm rounds for horses.

No pics of the rebased figures just yet- maybe next episode.
I got me some Gale Force 9 spring moss and purple flowers to give a pass as heather.

Still, cant have you not having a pic to enjoy. Here is a quick iphoneto of my Skulldred photo board with the first stages of the cyclorama backdrop. Its just lightly sketched in with a few washes over pencil roughs so I kept it blurry. :)
Yes. Thats Warduke in the distance. My placcy D&D joblot arrived. Yay!
Warduke is my hero.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

White Dwarf. U doin it rite.

Today I picked up the new look white dwarf and I feel strangely compelled by it.
It addresses lots of the issues I had with the 'white cover' era. I used to buy one from time to time and rip about six good pages out and dump the rest as it was basically repeats, white space and jokes (gw prices).
The new dwarf has articles, atmospheric shots, non eavy metal armies and behind the scenes stuff which makes the book well worth the 12 bucks. Bravo.
I am looking forward to the next one taking a few more steps in that direction, and hopefully keeping up a 'little something for everyone' instead of the previous ' its dark angels this month- everyone else get f$&ked! silliness. It takes two articles to make a mag worth buying... So though obviously a big chaos release you see skaven, undead and orks getting love. Keep this up and I may return.
It was so nice seeing lotr armies sharing pages with orks and bretonian armies.
It does make me laugh that Jervis Johnson's article was about removing limitation from GW games. It was the thing that I hated about gw games since Rogue Trader 40ks first expansion started the shackling process that turned the universe from a rich fantasy into little more then a list of cants.

I hope Blanchitsu is regular- that would lever 12 bucks from my hands each month.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dicing with Dragons

This arrived today- a bit fat slice of old school.

Written by Ian Livingstone, its best described as a tasting plate of fantasy rpg of the 1980s.

A quick thumb through brings a smile to my face. It kicks off with a 'what is roleplaying' chapter, scoots through a fun little choose-your-own-adventure before transforming into a trade catalogue of games at the time, before ending up with a mini painting chapter in glorious black and white with no photos. Yes. Line art mini painting examples like this...

Makes it all clear! What a gem.

There is also a chapter on video games circa 1982. Cannot wait to read that one in particular. Thats going to be my reward for completing the choose your own adventure bit.

To round the book off as a joy, its illustrated by Russ Nicholson who would later go on to do lots of fighting fantasy art. I love his penmanship! He was a big inspiration to me.

I did have a sneak peek at the chapter on mini painting. It is interesting to note how acrylics are given the brush off as 'tricky to use'- enamels are front and center, with a good word for alklyds for shading. Imagine if citadel went enamels instead?

I also like the comment that miniature painting is 'almost a hobby in itself'. Almost.

I am looking at a few intense days of hard work before I can get back to my almost hobby and read this.

I mostly read at night. Mostly.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Late night with insomnia. Allergies suck.
Decided to paint something for an hour whilst waiting for next sleep wave to hit. So did this...

A quick tint job. The mini was grey shaded a while back, and as I dont collect elves much, has sat on my desk for a bit. So his undershading was- a badab black wash or two over tamiya primer, followed by light grey dry-brush

The tints where made using small amounts of Liquitex color, thinned with water and made greasy with Jo Sonjas Magic Mix Medium- which is a matte medium, retarder and flow aid mix which really is magic straight out of the bottle.

I had a cool blue green, a yellow green, a blue-purple shadow tone, a violent pink/magenta, white and ultra deep pthalo blue on the wet palette.
The black came from ink, which I find beats black acrylics for depth and contrast and wicks into the crevices making edges a breeze.

To do the straps I did three layers of burnt umber glaze, focusing toward the middle so the edges looked worn or highlighted.
The magic mix keeps the paint open for long enough to pick up a second tiny and work it in. Handy stuff. I think I will enjoy using it.

I used blue and yellow to get the warm/dark lighting- this is directly inspired by Larry Elmores painting style.

I am going to push that further next session, but for a speed paint I am happy!
Heres an Elmore for you to see his purple/yellow balancing.

Aaaaanyway, see you next session... Sleep... Wave.... Coming......


Friday, September 14, 2012

Zero hit points.

Hey folks- just to let you all know I started a blog just for discussing ideas for my old school style fantasy RPG development " D'Undred" so I can keep kingsminis purely about, well, king's minis.
Come on over and share your thoughts and experiences of DnD, TnT, retroclones and home baked games design with me while I mull over which path D'Undred will take and throw out ideas for you to bicker over!
The more the merry and pippin-er!
Meanwhile I am looking forward to some serious painting tomorrow morning as I nurse tonights festivities as a hang over. Mmmm, bacon and coffee and mindless base coating.
Its at

With D'Undred I want an experience like this.....

But without the clunky system!

Ahh, love a good dracolitch...

Speaking of which my Undead Dragon arrived recently. I have been in love with this monster since reading Pillars of Pentergarn as a child.

But between the cute cleric being magic missiled to death by Bargle in redbox dnd and lydia the red headed elf thief copping cursed jewelry that turned her into a skeleton in this book I was a little traumatized. Oh, and the girl who is killed by her jealous husband with a dagger after sleeping with you in Tunnels & Trolls solo... Jeesh.
I like my hot chicks surviving thank you very much.

Anyway, once I find an appropriate jar big enough to strip him down that dracolitch is getting some serious love and attention.

Maybe I should resurrect those girls as miniatures! Anyone know a good match for them?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crayons and dice

Nerdvana. To reach the state of geek bliss practice the ancient art of crayoning your red dice.
Yep, old school as drokk, my super precise game science dice arrived. How do I have them?
Opaque. Red. Un-inked.
The geek equivalent of dry. Shaken. Not stirred.

After thirty minutes of late bus waiting I managed to color most of my preciouses and took a snap because, hey, I am a serious gaming web journalist. Its how I roll.

Stop me.

I have been flat out far too busy at work to paint, (or sleep) so this interlude is hobby fix for the week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Grognards and dragons

I could not help myself- all this gibber- jabber has me on a DND bend and I dusted off my half repainted pre-painted dnd minis and after a little knifework and liquid green stuff have them based and ready for painting. I also pushed a couple of the Ral Partha official AD&D minis up the queue to sate my grognardia. Lesser golems, golems and a chimera. Great sculpts, sadly the moulds where apparently destroyed when TSR went to WOC. Shame that.

Now completely off topic in response to a skulldred rpg.

So I have to confess I am now mentally poking around with an rpg system. Once something creative gets into my head its very hard to shake. Fortunately with Skulldred beta 3.3 going into testing I have mental space and time.
The thought process so far is to make an 0ed module compatible system in terms of spells and equipment prices, but gut the core D20 system entirely in favor for a clean, easy D100 'roll under stat' system using the face value of the dice as quality rating and double digits as double strong hits (11,22,33,44 etc). Rolling exactly your target number is a critical hit, rolling 100 a critical fail.
That means no roll-modify or subtract dice from target for quality. At a glance results.
Reading dragons at dawn, Dave Arneson seemed in favor of percentile systems originally so its kinda true to spirit. Regardless of the big mans opinion though, my rpg groups really loved them- it gives you an easy to visualize odds, and modify then roll under gives immediate results the moment the dice hit the table. Great for cheering players when the halfling makes that 02% chance jump!

Weapon stats bug me- if I like maces, but axes do more damage, well I have to buy an axe. I want to fix that with having all weapons simply give a bonus to your combat chance depending on their quality.
Damage is the first digit of your quality roll (eg 35 = 3 hits), with a minimum of 1 hit caused. Double digits and a critical roll doubles hits (22 =4 hits).
Therefore better weapons equal more hits, more crits and ultimately more damage.
Casting a spell drains your mage by about 5%, so the more spells you cast the weaker your chances of casting get. Perhaps you can strike otherworldly pacts for more power. No vancian magic for me.

Hows all that sound so far?

Friday, August 17, 2012

DND 5beta reviews

So I was trawling youtube last night and reading dnd next beta reviews. I am pleased to hear most of the changes revert dnd to a more 0ed direction to most reviewers surprise. People who liked 4 ed are naturally bitching about this as a step back, and I wanted to wade in to the argument. Now, where do I have a good platform to reach hundreds of gamers... Hmm, shame I dont have one of those blog thingies... Uh... Oh, look I do!

What I hear about so far makes me feel like the name DND is being returned to the actual DND game. 4th ed is not the experience of DND really- but the hybrid child of DND skirmishes, and magic:tg trying desperately to be both world of warcraft and pokemon. As a game in itself, I am sure 4ed its great, and judging by folks comments its fun, but it is not DND. When I and a bunch of old players played 4ed we found it was very much a disjoint between the rulebook and the game we where trying to experience. It sent me scurrying to download a bunch of 0ed books.
Now it looks like DND may be returning as DND. 4e players can enjoy cheap discounted books at least.
From the sounds of it, it is similar to what I would have done, though vancian magic would be out for sure in favor of mana points.
I will wait to see if I still need to tackle a rpg system next!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dwarf raid and enamel undercoating

No time to paint anything as all my spare time has been focused of Skulldred.
I did take this pic of some of my wip warband on my new gaming table though.

My studio is smelling of turps again after an abysmal couple of days forced me to use brush on priming. I read a few blogs saying enamels make a damn tough prime, and I remember doing this in the 1980's as John Blanche said this in a couple of articles. So I tried a Humbrol black, grey and white enamel to see if it is true.
Yes. It is.
And in fact I would definitely go with the white matt enamel for priming on a wet day, and will certainly use the black to paint my washers all the time, as they are far more scratch resistant.

Plus I like the smell. It makes me happy... Weeeeeeeeee!

A few points in favor of the white enamel over an acrylic base. It runs into cracks, which is actually a good thing for priming, so long as you dont let it pool in the details and set. I used a soft brush and kept the paint by attacking the surfaces at different angles so I get a light coating. The aim I realized was not so much to get a pure even white surface, but to get a shell of tough prime to act as something for paint to adhere to. Besides, with the first coat getting into the cracks, I could use a drybrush like technique to cover the rest without getting in tge cracks on the second coat.
Second pro, it takes longer to dry, so you can work the undercoat for a while.
Third pro. Turps. Weeeeeee!
Fourth pro. A couple of bucks for a tin that lasts ages.
So why white over grey or black? Simply visibility- it was really hard to see if I got an even coat with the others. I found the black impossible to gauge.

The down side is drying time- you want six hours between coats to avoid wrinkling and they suggest 24 hours before you paint on the model- but thats for paints based on thinners - I find its okay to start with water based paints after an hour or so.
But all in all, the drying time is no biggie. I tend to undercoat a whole bunch of figures at once and have a dozen painting projects on the go so I am usually in no rush.

So how much tougher is it? Well its not bulletproof, but I used a scientific test of rubbing my thumb on the range of figures and I would say it is 'way' tougher. Thats a metric 'way', not to be confused with the old imperial 'way'.
Since I game with my figures, and have switched to washer bases, I have to toughen up my figures for handling- enamels, combined with a half dozen coats of gloss and a zap or two of dullcoat to kill the shine should do the trick.